I’m a talker by nature, and it’s been my habit to start talking without a clear plan about what I’m trying to say. This often gets me into trouble, especially when there is conflict.

One focus for me is speaking MY truth. If I’m having a disagreement with someone, it’s all too easy for me to put words in the other person’s mouth or draw conclusions about their behavior. For example, I might say, “You don’t respect me” when what I need to communicate is, “When you did x, I felt disrespected.”

When I’m speaking, it is my job to share my own perspective. My job when listening is to hear the other person’s viewpoint. Adding my interpretation of the other person’s behavior only clouds the issues and prevents real understanding. The Fonz (Henry Winkler) had it right when he said, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”

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Photo from Jason Rosewell on Unsplash.